Scott started out its first trail specific MTB course locally on 9 June 2007 at Bukit Timah. This course is targeted at experience riders who wish to polish up their skills and learn riding tips from elite riders in the region. The Bukit Timah course was led by Tan Chun Hong and Risa Suseanty who are both very established riders in their own rights. Rather than to call it a course, it is more of a workshop whereby there is a lot of interaction between the riders and leaders. The leaders took pains to understand each participant’s riding skills and improve on their individual weakness and fortify on their strength. There is no standard course material and it really caters to each participant’s unique needs.

The session started with a short introduction and a brief on the course expectations. We are supposed to do three laps around the trail for this session. First lap is to allow the leaders to observe our riding technique. Second lap will be when the main bulk of knowledge transfer will take place and followed by a third lap to wrap things up, and for the participants to put into practice what they have learnt.

Once the briefing was done, all the participants and leaders set off for the first lap. Prep talks were given during the ride and whenever we stop to wait for the other participants. The leaders were very generous with their knowledge and you can sense their willingness to share, no hiding of trade secrets here. Personally, I was surprise with the number of take-aways I had, despite having cleared the trail countless of times. The topics the leaders touched upon were very comprehensive and ranges from the rider, to the machine and finally, the environment. The first lap took longer than expected and we decided to push forward the lunch break before we go for our second lap.

Lunch was a simple affair, but the sharing kept on going even while we were emptying our chicken rice.

The second lap started right after we had enough rest. During this lap, the group stopped at all the major problem areas and walked through the trail with the leaders. During the walk through, we were shown the possible lines and the preferred line by the leaders. Such stops ended with a demonstration by the leaders. For the first time, we get to see how fast those sections could be cleared and at the same time understand what was going though the rider’s mind. Once we got the idea, we were asked to ride the section under the watchful eyes of the leaders. This was when we would be told of our weaknesses and how to improve on them. Most if not all participants must have benefited greatly during this lap.

After spending a total of 4 hours in the trails, most of us decided against the third lap. We felt the course objective was achieved and the practice portion could be left on our own.

Is it worthwhile

I have no trouble clearing the Bukit Timah trail, but I have still benefited greatly from this session by riding with the leaders and re-looking the trail at a different perspective. I feel more confident and have more intimate knowledge of the trail after the session. This course is ideal for anyone who would like to improve his riding skills or is starting out on a competitive level. While the skills taught are not new, it definitely helps to quicken the learning curve and prevent you from spending fruitless time trying to figure things out on your own. I understand that there are plans to extend these trail specific courses to other local race trails like Kent Ridge and Pulau Ubin. So if you have problems with any of the trails, and is keen to learn from the pros, stay tune for more details, or you may contact Sdiann from Kian Hong for updates.